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Meet Our Team

RISE Research Lab is comprised of a dedicated team of researchers and research assistants based at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada. Meet the members of our team below!

Primary Investigator  •  Dr. Laura Sokal (she/her)

A photo of Laura Sokal, the primary investigator of RISE Research Lab.

Dr. Laura Sokal is a full professor who teaches in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg in Canada. An award-winning teacher, she has published 4 edited books and 105 research articles.

 

She currently sits on UNESCO’s expert panel on pandemic recovery in schools and advises the Canadian Mental Health Association on teacher burnout and recovery. Aside from teaching in schools in 5 countries, she has worked as a Child Life Therapist at Children’s Hospital and as Associate Dean of Education. Her favorite part of her job is teaching and learning with her students. 

Lead Researcher  •  Dr. Lesley Eblie Trudel (she/her)

A photo of Lesley Eblie Trudel, the lead researcher of RISE Research Lab.

Dr. Lesley Eblie Trudel has been successfully involved in public education for over thirty years. Lesley ended off her career in the K-12 system as an Assistant Superintendent of Schools and is currently the Associate Dean in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg.

 

Lesley is a kind and collaborative leader with a keen
interest in organizational learning and systemic change as it
pertains to diverse and inclusive educational communities.

Senior Statistical Analyst  •  Jeff Babb (he/ him)*

A photo of Jeff Babb, the Senior Statistical Analyst of RISE Research Lab.

Jeff Babb joined the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Winnipeg in 2000 and is now an Associate Professor, having served as Chair from 2004 to 2009. Jeff was Principal Consultant for the Statistical Advisory Service of the Department of Statistics at the University of Manitoba for 1998–2000, after serving as the Biometrician for the Grain Research Laboratory of the Canadian Grain Commission in Winnipeg for 16 years.

Lead Senior Research Assistant  •  Alina Carlson  (she/ her)  •   BEd, PBDE

A photo of Alina Carlson, the lead senior research assistant of RISE Research Lab

Alina Carlson (Wilson) has been involved in education research projects since her second year of university. She has worked on various projects in the fields of inclusive education and teacher wellness as a senior research assistant, and has published research papers and presented at conferences. 

Currently, Alina is a middle school teacher and English Language Arts department head. Her favourite part of her job is connecting research to practice to support her students' learning and growth.

Senior Research Assistant  •  Bailey Riffel (she/ her) •  BEd

A photo of Bailey Riffel, one of the senior research assistants at RISE Research Lab.

Bailey Riffel has been a part of the RISE team, first as a research assistant beginning during her 4th year of university, and currently as a senior research assistant.  

Currently, Bailey is teaching grade 11 biology and chemistry, and grade 10 Interdisciplinary Studies.

Senior Research Assistant  •  Navneil Singh (he/ him)* •  BEd

A photo of Navneil Singh, one of the senior research assistants at RISE Research Lab.

Navneil Singh was part of the RISE team, first as a research assistant, and then as a senior research assistant beginning during his fourth year of university.

Currently, Navneil is teaching high school English, social studies, history, and ICT.

Senior Research Assistant  •  Micah Doerksen (he/ him)* •  BEd

A photo of Micah Doerksen, one of the senior research assistants at RISE Research Lab.

Micah Doerksen was part of the RISE team, first as a research assistant, and then as a senior research assistant during the entirety of his Bachelor of Education degree.

Currently, Micah is teaching high school social studies and debate.

Research Assistant, Knowledge Translation  •  Breanna McLennan (she/ her)*

A photo of Breanna McLennan, one of the research assistants at RISE Research Lab.

Breanna McLennan is graduating from the University of Winnipeg integrated Education program in April 2024 with a major in kinesiology and a minor in psychology.

 

She enjoys working with kids and has been a Literacy Links facilitator in addition to working as a skating and hockey coach and summer camp leader. This is her second year working with the RISE Research Lab.

Research Assistant, Knowledge Translation  •  Todd Campbell (he/ him) *

Todd is a 4th year student in the Faculty of Education, majoring in kinesiology and minoring in geography. In his spare time, he enjoys long-distance running, activities outdoors, and learning Spanish.

Research Assistant  •  Chloe Stimpson 

A photo of Chloe Stimpson, one of the research assistants at RISE Research Lab.

Chloe Stimpson is enrolled in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg with a major in kinesiology and a minor in biology.

She is currently student teaching Grade 7 and 8 English and Grade 7 social studies.

Research Assistant, Knowledge Translation  •  Johnny Holtmann (he/ him)

Johnny Headshot.jpeg

Johnny Holtmann is studying at the University of Winnipeg and is enrolled in the Faculty of Education Integrated Program. He is a history major and a math minor. Johnny is very passionate when it comes to be being a positive role model for students. He enjoys working within the Interlake School Division as an EA or substitute teacher, and also enjoys working on his family farm in the summer.

 

Currently, Johnny is on track to graduate in 2026, when he hopes to get a teaching position as an elementary or middle school teacher.

* Although some members of our team have either retired or graduated into their teaching careers, we wanted to honour their important contributions to RISE Research Lab. 

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